Laingsburg’s Centenary Year, 1981, was supposed to be a time of celebrations for this 100-year-old Karoo town on the Buffels River. It was, in fact, a time of its greatest tragedy.
A devastating flood took away much of the town and at least 104 of its residents. A wall of water several metres high swept through Laingsburg, leaving only 21 houses standing.
Today, it’s a great centre for hiking, fossil hunting, geological studies and Anglo-Boer War memories, in the form of British blockhouses and marked gravestones.
In fact, there’s an interesting story linking the Anglo-Boer War to the Laingsburg floods. A gravestone belonging to one Trooper Burton, who had been buried in the local cemetery, was washed away in the deluge of 1981. Some years later, there was another flood, and Trooper Burton’s gravestone was washed up and revealed.
This time the stone was firmly cemented onto his grave.
But modern-day Laingsburg is far more fun, especially on a weekend. Farmers’ markets have become all the rage in rural South Africa, because they introduce the people and the food of the region to visitors from outside the area. And Laingsburg has been quick to respond to this trend, with the establishment of a farmer’s market on the last Saturday of every month.
If you’re staying around here or simply passing through, make a point of visiting the Laingsburg Farmers’ Market where you can pick up preserves, meats and bakes made locally. For those who like to rummage around second-hand goods, there is also a boot sale nearby.
Find our newly-released e-Book, 101 Karoo Towns, HERE.